Monday, January 2, 2012

2012 Winter Classic Recap -- NAILED IT!

Looking back at this year's Winter Classic, I can say I pretty much predicted it!  The Rangers won 3-2 like how I predicted!  The Rangers were down 2-1 going into the third and scored 2 within a couple of minutes to take the lead and hold on.  The Flyers had a power play opportunity and even a penalty shot with under 20 seconds left in the game to tie it up but failed.  For the fourth time in 5 Winter Classics, the road team prevails.  A reminder, this is still a regular season game, so the Rangers got the 2 points and stay in first in the Eastern Conference.  Also, I hate the Flyers!

In my 4 keys, I mentioned the atmosphere, the goalies, the top forwards, and the coaches.  The atmosphere was perfect with the weather and the fans, the wind didn't seem to affect the players that much nor did the lighting and shadows.  The Philly fans truly showed up when chanting how bad the refs sucked.

I had to adjust my goalie preview due to the Flyers going with their back up. Frankly, that might have cost them.  Bobrovsky on Rupp's second goal in the 3rd period was rather soft.  That sparked the Rangers and their top line center, Brad Richards, buried a juicy rebound just a couple minutes later to take the lead for good.  Lundqvist, the goalie for the Rangers, was spectacular.  He kept the game close in the first period and throughout the rest of the game. In the final 5 minutes of the game, he was unreal including the first ever penalty shot in a Winter Classic in which he stopped Danny Briere with under 20 seconds left in the game.  His reaction to stopping the shot was priceless!

The top forwards weren't dominant but solid overall.  However the scoresheet won't show their impact.  I thought Gaborik for the Rangers throughout the game created great scoring chances.  The same for Giroux and the Flyers.  When Jagr got hurt, Giroux had a hard time generating chances.  Hartnell was more a pest than anything and let his emotions get the better of him.  Callahan, the Captain of the NYR, took a penalty with under 2 minutes to play but assisted on Brad Richards game winning goal.  The X-Factor was Mike Rupp and his 2 goals.  What a big time player.

Both the coaches did a real nice job tonight.  However, when Jagr went down it seemed Laviolette seemed a bit lost with his line combinations.  Tortorella on the other hand pulled on the right strings and got the offense he needed.  Laviolette is going to be scrutinized for not starting Bryzgalov and I'm sure he'll lose sleep over it tonight.  The Flyers are now 0-2 in the Winter Classic.  Awesome.  My MVP is Henrik Lundqvist, goalie of the New York Rangers.  He got a couple bad bounces early but stopped the onslaught from the Flyers in the 3rd period including the HUGE penalty shot save.

The fifth annual Winter Classic was a great one.  It was definitely better than last year's abysmal game.  Now the NHL and its fans look forward to where it could be next year.  Check out this ESPN article on the top 10 potential sites.  I agree it will most likely be Detroit.  But check out Columbus down at #8!